Bolsters offer support to the body by enabling the practitioner to relax and stretch effectively without strain. They allow asana to be practiced in a relaxed manner, and serve to balance the body and mind actively, as well as passively.
The yogis of old used logs, rocks, and rope to help them practice asana effectively. B.K.S. Iyengar refined this idea by developing props which would allow yoga poses to be held easily and for a longer duration, without strain. This made each asana accessible to all yoga students, whether they were young or old, beginners or advanced practitioners, those who desired a restorative practice, or those whose practice was limited due to illness or injury.
Which Bolster is Right for You?
Choosing the appropriate bolster is a very personal decision. Perhaps the simplest advice is to choose the type of bolster you’re accustomed to using at your local studio. If you’re still not certain which style of bolster to order, here are a few general guidelines:
The Round Bolster is the tallest and the most dense. It is designed to flatten out a bit with use. This bolster is made from rolled cotton batting.
Dimensions: 10” x 26” x 34” • Weight: 7 lbs.
The Oval Bolster is somewhat flatter than the round bolster, but equally dense. It is also made of cotton batting which is folded, rather than rolled.
Dimensions: 9” x 26” x 34.5” • Weight: 7 lbs.
Round and Oval Bolsters are useful for passive chest opening poses, as well as for restorative forward bends. In poses such as viparita karani (legs up the wall), use of a round or oval bolster promotes maintaining the natural lumbar curve.
The Flat Bolster is the flattest and widest of the bolsters. It has a foam core surrounded by rolled cotton batting. It is firmer and lighter than the others.
Dimensions: 8” x 27” x 32.5”• Weight: 5 lbs.
Flat Bolsters offer more support across the back body in reclined poses, and can also be used by practitioners who are new to pranayama. Any of the bolsters can be placed either parallel or perpendicular to the spine, or can be used beneath the knees in supine (lying flat) poses in order to lengthen the low back.
Still have questions about which bolster is the right one for you? Give us a call, between noon and 7:00 p.m. eastern time, and we’ll be happy to help you choose the perfect bolster to fit your needs.